Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sick With The Epic Ick

There is sick, and then there is SICK, and I have been both this week. When I am sick I feel as if I have never been well and that I will never be well. As you can imagine, this attitude is fun to be around. 

I started sneezing an unusual number of times two weeks ago, my usual indicator of oncoming sickness, but I brushed it off to allergies. This is like a coal miner who, seeing the canary dead, says to himself ehh, he was probably old. 

I should have started sucking my customary Cold-Eze, which promises to "lessen the severity and shorten the duration" of your suffering. I lost two days' battle prep to my wishful thinking.

When on that Wednesday I got the irrefutable scratchy throat of doom, the enemy had already entrenched. Thursday I missed work, a rare thing. Friday I came back, with a low Lou Rawls rumble of a voice and a stuffy nose, prompting a coworker to ask, reasonably, "What are you doing here?" 

It was then I realized I had the Epic Ick. Not your usual cold, but the one you've heard about in low murmurs from friends this season. "Oh, I had that for three weeks," one will say. "Never had one hang on so long," another will say. 

Googling "flu season" I get a lot of results saying last winter's was a horrific one, which I had not known. Dodged it somehow. Thousands of people died, mostly elderly, but not all. This year's impact is not legendary, except to me. I missed two more days of work, unprecedented.

In the drug store cold remedy aisle I met another guy one night. "You got the cough?" I asked. He nodded in commiseration, like another lifer in the prison yard. I grabbed some goop. He said "Good luck." Fellow sufferers are instant friends. It is a wonder this country has not healed its political wounds on that truth alone.

The symptoms have not been worse than ever, except the tickle, just endless. The 8:00 tickle, which comes on as reliably as a "Rocky" sequel, and causes fits of coughing which leaves my stomach muscles aching. Perhaps I will finally get those six pack abs. I cough so hard the pressure in my head causes blue flashes behind my eyes, as they are squashed up against my skull. 

I take to sleeping in the living room in a chair, so my sinuses can drain the tickle. Lying down is impossible. So I bundle up and try to sleep sitting up, rain sounds from a white noise app coursing through my earbuds, drowning out last week's actual rain sounds, which were not loud enough on their own to cover the dog's nighttime hacking cough.

Reaching the two week mark I can tell I have finally turned the corner, just a week later than usual. I slept lying down, the first time in five nights. My stomach muscles have returned to their pre-illness lethargy. The tickle has retreated. Still, I can tell it will be most of a week before all symptoms are entirely gone, a personal record. 

I used to think Dennys and flu shots were for old people, forgetting that according to Dennys and doctors I now AM old people. I will be getting the shot from here on, because while it was fun to get a ton of movies watched, they haven't made a movie yet which was worth the demon tickle. Although "Rocky" comes close.